This afternoon, Sampson Lewkowicz, promoter of two-time world champion and WBC #2 lightweight contender Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs), is submitting a formal request to the WBC for them to order negotiations to begin immediately for Fortuna to face current WBC Lightweight Champion Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KOs).
In his request, Lewkowicz cites the extended series of cancelled and declined fights for his top-rated fighter:
After fighting his way to the #1 spot in the WBC ratings last November, Fortuna was supposed to face England’s Luke Campbell in April of this year for the vacant lightweight championship after champion Haney was sidelined by shoulder injury and named a “champion in recess.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the fight from happening and gave Haney adequate time to recover.
The WBC then reinstated Haney as champion and granted him a voluntary defense. They further mandated that Fortuna and Campbell meet for the WBC interim lightweight championship and then face the winner of Haney’s voluntary defense immediately after. That arrangement fell through though, when Campbell’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, announced he was planning to step over #1 contender Fortuna to make a fight between Haney and #2 contender Campbell.
With Fortuna now looking for a new opponent, representatives from Golden Boy Promotions offered him a fight against WBC #3-ranked Ryan Garcia, which Fortuna agreed to without hesitation, only to be later notified that “Kingry” didn’t want to face Fortuna.
Lewkowicz then arranged for Fortuna to face Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs), the WBC #5 contender and a former featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight world champion for the WBC Diamond Belt in August. Unfortunately, Linares announced he had COVID-19 a couple weeks before the fight and it was also cancelled.
Since then, Haney has gone on to successfully make his voluntary defense against former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in November and Ryan Garcia is set to face Luke Campbell in January of next year.
Fortuna, now the WBC #2 contender after the insertion of former champ Vasyl Lomachenko into the #1 spot, was finally able to find someone to fight and looked sensational this past weekend while stopping tough Mexican Antonio Lozada Torres in six rounds.
Given these circumstances, Team Fortuna believes they are justified in requesting the WBC to grant this request for an immediate Fortuna vs. Haney fight. Fortuna has been a #1 or #2 contender for over a year while lower-rated contenders have secured fights against each other. With Lomachenko tied up looking for a rematch against Teofimo Lopez, the Fortuna vs. Haney fight is a worthy matchup between champion and available top contender.
“Through his entire career, Javier Fortuna has fought anyone willing to fight,” said Lewkowicz. “He looked sensational beating Lozada on Saturday and has been a top contender for an exceptionally long time. He deserves an immediate shot at Devin Haney’s championship. I am sure the WBC will agree that the time has come for his long-awaited title challenge.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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